Traveling Independence Day weekend? Plan ahead to avoid delays

WSDOT tools available for best times to travel on key routes

OLYMPIA – With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s highly anticipated travel charts are now available to help people plan ahead. The weekend prior to Monday, July 4 is expected to see increased travel on many key routes including Interstate-5, I-90 and ferry service throughout the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.

The closure of the U.S.-Canadian border the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in unreliable travel data and wait times for travelers. For this reason, WSDOT will not produce travel charts for the border crossing this year. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination remains a requirement for entry into Canada.

WSDOT encourages travelers to “know before they go,” and follow these tips whether traveling across town or the beautiful Evergreen State:  

  • Get informed about WSDOT's online tools, including the WSDOT mobile app, traffic cameras and email alerts.
  • Visit online traveler information for traffic, weather, ferry schedules and a real-time travel map.
  • Follow WSDOT's social media accounts, such as several Twitter accounts and the agency Facebook page.
  • Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
  • Have a backup outdoor destination if your first choice is full. If parking lots are full, find an alternative site and never park along road shoulders, as this is unsafe for everyone on the roadway.
  • Allow extra time for travel to avoid rushing or distraction.
  • Carry extra food and water as well as extra masks and hand sanitizer as an added precaution for emergencies or unexpected stops.

Highway construction paused

Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Friday, July 1 – to ease congestion. However, Revive I-5 work which requires multiple lane closures in downtown Seattle will take place beginning 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 1 through 6:30 a.m. Monday, July 4. Please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may remain in place. And please give any emergency repair crews plenty of space to work safely.

Snoqualmie Pass

No construction or lane closures are planned on I-90 from Friday, July 1, until Tuesday, July 5. However, the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect eastbound delays beginning on Thursday, June 30, then westbound Tuesday, July 5 (see charts for more detail). Receive text message alerts about significant delays by texting the number 468311 with the words "WSDOT Snoqualmie."

Tolling

In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect Saturday through Monday, July 2-4, on the SR 520 bridge and SR 99 tunnel. The I-405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the weekend and Monday holiday.

Ferry travel

People boarding a state ferry by vehicle should prepare for long waits. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound Thursday and Friday, June 30 and July 1, then eastbound, Monday and Tuesday, July 4-5. Customers also can bypass vehicle lines by traveling as a walk-on passenger.

  • All riders should double check the sailing schedules as some routes are operating on timetables that are different than prior to the pandemic.
  • Visit the Washington State Ferries website for more details on vehicle reservations, rider alerts, checking terminal conditions and COVID-19 travel updates.
  • The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends wearing face masks on indoor transit, but they are no longer required.

Trains, airports and transit

Travelers making a trip by train, personal aircraft or bus also should plan ahead to avoid holiday delays:

  • Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. Trains are running between Seattle and Eugene, Oregon. Buses are operating for travel between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Masks are encouraged, but not required on all trains and buses. Visit www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 800-USA-RAIL for tickets.
  • For information about traveling via state-sponsored airports, visit wsdot.wa.gov/travel/aviation/airports-list or call 360-788-7437.
  • Check with your local public transit agencies for any holiday schedule or service changes, including some Dial-A-Ride and fixed-route service that may not run on holidays.

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